Distracted Driving Incidents On The Rise

Martín Di Felice

Coachella Valley Region

A report by the California Office of Traffic Safety concluded that injuries and death associated with distracted driving have increased since 2012.

The report found almost 13 percent of drivers were spotted with mobile devices while driving. That figure is up from the previous high of almost 11 percent in 2013.

"I own a business and unfortunately, I have to answer calls from people, sometimes I check on my emails or my text messages," said Saverio Mangione of Riverside.

"It’s very hard not to. And then you add in all the apps that are on the phone. It’s very easy to do, yet I still find myself getting angry at the other drivers that do it, but I’m just as guilty," said Christine Wingate of Seattle. 

The number of citations being issued, however, is decreasing. Tickets for distracted drivers have gone down from 168,000 in 2012 to about 91,000 last year.

One of the reasons for the decrease in citations is drivers are more aware of the fact that they are being watched. In addition, many local agencies have fewer officers patrolling the roads because of layoffs. 

That does not mean that local law enforcement is standing idly by.       

"We actually, previously, cracked down on distracted driving from a period of April 5th to April 20th, where we sent extra officers to strictly enforce against distracted drivers throughout the whole city," said Sgt. Mike Villegas with the Palm Springs Police Department.